Writing is like cooking, if you spill something, you should make it look like part of the act.
–John Keeble–

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The SunBeams: little rays of sun

James and I have been called to be Sunbeam teachers in the Sunday School. these little three year old are teaching us more about life than either of us wanted to know.
This last Sunday was Easter, which means hunting for eggs filled with candy. Our calling is keeping this group of kids busy for two hours. We got to experience the height of their sugar rushes and the crash.
My conclusion, sugar affects kids hearing, they can't hear what you are saying, and they have to talk louder to hear what they are saying. Candy also affects the eye sight, all day the kids could see something in the corner of their eye and were constantly trying to see it more clearly. the result was them flinching, turning their heads quickly, and constant movement of all body parts.
to stay sane we told them the Easter Bunny was going to leave them a treat if they behaved, and no they were not going to see the Easter Bunny because no one see the Easter Bunny on Easter, Duh!
we got through class and handed them each a plastic egg filled with candy. As we handed the kids back to their parents, with sugar back in their systems, we smiled and wished them a Happy Easter.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Higher Power of Lucky

Author: Susan Patron
Title: The Higher Power of Lucky
Information: atheneum books, 2006, 9-12
Number of Pages 134
plot summary: Lucky lives in a small town called Hard Pan, with her guardian Bridgett. Lucky's mother died after a big rainstorm, so her father asks his first wife from France to take care of Lucky. Lucky listens in on all the support groups in town, and one day wants to be a famous scientist like Darwin. When she think that Bridgett is going to leave her, she runs away during a windstorm, but little Miles is already lost in the storm. She takes Miles to the old bunkers and take care of Him. the Towns people finally find them, and Lucky understand the meaning of a Higher Power.
Reaction: this was a cute book, i liked the characters and the description of the town.
Potential Problems: Lucky runs away, the littlest boy walks around freely asking everyone for cookies
Recommendation: i think that this is a great book for everyone.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Magic School Bus: Inside the Human Body

Author: Joanna Cole
Title: The Magic School Bus: Inside the Human Body
Publishing information: Scholastic, 1990, 4-8
Number of Pages: 40
Genre: Informational

Summary of Plot: Mrs. Frizzle takes a trip into Arnold’s body. The class explores the digestion system, the brain, blood vessels, lungs, bones, nerves system, muscles, and the nasal cavity. Arnold all alone walks back to the school, to wait for the class. when the class get out the diagram the body.
Your Reaction to the book: other than learning so much, the great thing about this book is the side notes that tell you more.
Potential Problems: this book takes a look inside the human body, so if you have a weak stomach I don’t suggest you read this book.
Recommendations: kids who love to learn.

The Outsiders

Author: S.E. Hinton
Title: The Outsiders
Publishing information: Puffin, 1965, 9-12
Number of Pages: 192
Genre: fiction

Summary of Plot: Ponyboy is raise with the idea that there are two types of people in this world. Greasers and Socs. Ponyboy and his brother are greasers, and they hate the Socs. While he is walking home from the movies with his friend he is bet up by a groups of older Socs, but he is saved by his brother Sodapop and other greasers. His oldest brother Darry takes responsibility for his younger brothers and the gang. They next night Ponyboy and a couple of his friend go the movies and flirt with Socs girls. When Ponyboy get home get in a fight with his older brother and runs to the park. Him and his friend sit and watch the stars. They are attacked the Socs drunk boyfriends, and one of the Socs is killed. They run away and hide. They cut and dye their hair and live in a church for a week. When they hear about a rumble between the two groups they decide to go back and help their gang. While they were away from the church it catches on fire while a school group was inside. Ponyboy and his friend run into save the kids. Ponyboy’s friend is hit by a falling timber and is badly burned. After the fight Ponyboy’s friend dies from his wounds. At court he get off because the Socs death was not his fault and he get to stay with his brothers. At the end he understand the importance of family.
Your Reaction to the book: I thought that this book had an interesting point of view. I like the difference between the brothers and their friends.
Potential Problems: there are a lot of violent scenes.
Recommendations: older boys, not for younger kids.

The Giver

Author: Lois Lowry
Title: The Giver
Publishing information: Delacorte, 1993, 9-12
Number of Pages: 208
Genre: Science fiction
Summary of Plot: Jonas is born within the ideal world. No one gets sick, there is always enough food, the population and weather is controlled, and every family has a daughter and son, and everyone sexual impulse are stifled with special drugs. At the age of 12 everyone receives a job, Jonas job is the new Giver. He meets the older giver and is given the memories of the town. At first Jonas receive good and happy memories, but as they continue Jonas loses his innocence and see his world for what it is. He learns exactly what his father job as a baby care provider means. When his father brings home a small little boy, Jonas runs away with him. As the journey through the snow, Jonas thinks he sees a town and hears singing.
Your Reaction to the book: after I put this down, I thought about it forever. I really liked it.
Potential Problems: The world Jonas comes from scared me a little bit and I am an adult.
Recommendations: I think that if a younger group of kids were to read this book they would not understand it. This book is for older kids.

The Cay

Author: Theodore Taylor
Title: The Cay
Publishing information: Laurel Leaf, 1998, 9-12
Number of Pages: 144
Genre: Fiction

Summary of Plot: Phillip and his mother are heading home, but their ship sinks. Phillip is saved by a West Indian Timothy and a cat. They survive on an island. The incident leave Phillip blind and he has to rely on Timothy. With a racist background, he learns to care and love his caregiver. They build a raft and get off the island.
Your Reaction to the book: I liked this book as a kid and enjoyed it even more now.
Potential Problems: the way Phillip treats Timothy.
Recommendations: I think boys would enjoy this book just as much as girls.

The Slave Dancer

Author: Paula Fox
Title: The Slave Dancer
Publishing information: Yearling, 1973, 9-12
Number of Pages: 177
Genre: Historical fiction

Summary of Plot: Jesse is kidnapped from the dock in New Orleans, and placed on a slave ship to play his fife. After his ship reaches Africa and the ship is filled with slaves, once day the slaves are brought up one the deck to dance to Jesses’ music. Before the reach America their ship is caught in a storm, the ship goes down with the slaves and the crew, except jesses and slave boy. They reach land and Jesse goes back home and the boy is taken away.
Your Reaction to the book: This was the first book I read in school that made me cried. Reading it later in life I can the contention between the crew better.
Potential Problems: this book is gruesome Fox does not try to cover anything.
Recommendations: if you are interested in history and slave ships, this is a good book to read.

The Very Busy Spider

Author: Eric Carle
Title: The Very Busy Spider
Publishing information: Grosset & Dunlap, 1985, baby- preschool
Number of Pages: 24
Genre: picture book

Summary of Plot: Very one want to play, but the spider works to create her web.
Your Reaction to the book: this is a fun book. I love flip books.
Potential Problems: if you don’t like spiders don’t read this book.
Recommendations: great lesson for young kids.

Fanny's Dream

Author: Caralyn Buehner
Title: Fanny’s Dream
Publishing information: Puffin, 2003, 4-8
Number of Pages: 32
Genre: picture book

Summary of Plot: Fanny dream of going to the dance and falling in love with the mayor’s son, but the night of the big dance her fairy godmother does not show up. Heber Jensen shows up instead and asks Fanny to marry him after along time of pondering his question, she says yes. They get married and are happy, they work hard together, and laugh together; they have kids and love them. Years later the town has another party, and Fanny’s godmother shows up to help her get the party, but Fanny rejects her offer and stays with her family.
Your Reaction to the book: this is a cute book, and I think it really tells how life is.
Potential Problems: Fanny pulls some pranks in Heber that are not so nice.
Recommendations: If you have a little girl and you are worried she is taking the happily ever after to close to heart this is a great book for her.

17 things I'm not allowed to do anymore

Author: Jenny Offill
Title: 17 Things I’m no longer allowed to Do Anymore.
Publishing information: Schwartz and Wade, 2006, 4-8
Number of Pages: 32
Genre: picture book

Summary of Plot: this little girl staples her brother’s hair to the pillow, freezes dead flies and other crazy ideas. Her parents and her teachers tell her, after she gets in trouble what she is no longer allowed to do.
Your Reaction to the book: I like the art work it is unique. It’s a mix of photos, ink and paint.
Potential Problems: this book could give your child some mean ideas and prank to play on other kids
Recommendations: the story is fun, but I think girls would enjoy it better because the main character is a girl.

Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See

Author: Bill Martin
Title: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See
Publishing information: Harcourt School, 1993, baby- preschool
Number of Pages: 32
Genre: picture book

Summary of Plot: this rhyming picture leads kids through color and animals.
Your Reaction to the book: this book had great pictures, and would help kids read and recognize words.
Potential Problems: the colors and the animals sometimes don’t go together like horse and blue.
Recommendations: great book for little kids.


Author: Roald Dahl
Title: The BFG
Publishing information: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1982, 9-12
Number of Pages: 221
Genre: fiction

Summary of Plot: Sophie is kidnapped by the BFG and taken to the land of the giants. There the BFG tells her how horrible the other giants are, and that they go and eat people every night. The BFG is called the Big Friendly Giant because he doesn’t eat people instead he captures dreams and then blows them into children’s rooms. When the mean giants go off to England to eat children, Sophie comes up with a great plan to tell the Queen of England. The BFG makes a special dream for the queen that tells her all about the mean giants eating children and how Sophie knows where a nice one is that can tell the Queen where they are. When the Queen wakes up Sophie is sitting the queen’s windowsill. With the help of the BGF they capture the giants and throw them into a pit.
Your Reaction to the book: this book is funny, the BFG talks funny and it become interesting translating what he is saying.
Potential Problems: if you look to deeply into the logic of this book, it won’t make any sense
Recommendations: I think this is a great book for everyone.

Stephanie's Ponytail

Author: Robert Munsch
Title: Stephanie’s Ponytail
Publishing information: Annick press, 1996, 4-8
Number of Pages: 24
Genre: picture book

Summary of Plot: Stephanie wants to do her hair differently, but when everyone at school sees her ponytail, they want one to, so the next bay everyone shows up with a ponytail. Everyday Stephanie does her hair differently, but everyone keeps copying her. Finally she tells everyone that she is shaving off all her hair. The next day when she arrives to school, everyone has shaved their head, except Stephanie, her hair is in a ponytail.
Your Reaction to the book: I thought that this book was funny. The pictures were entertaining, even the teacher and the boys try to copy Stephanie’s hair style.
Potential Problems: not everyone is going to get the same reaction as Stephanie got.
Recommendations: I think this is a great book for everyone.

Alligator Baby

Author: Robert Munsch
Title: Alligator Baby
Publishing information: Cartwheel, 2002, 4-8
Number of Pages: 32
Genre: picture book

Summary of Plot: Kristen’s mother is having a baby, but one the way home from the hospital they go through the zoo, and they bring back a baby alligator. After a couple failed attempts of bring back the right baby it up to Kristen to find the right baby.
Your Reaction to the book: this book is silly and fun.
Potential Problems: this story is meant to be funny; nothing about it could be real.
Recommendations: I think young kid would enjoy reading this book.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Author: Eric Carle
Title: The Very Caterpillar
Publishing information: Philmel, 1994, baby - preschool
Number of Pages: 13
Genre: picture book

Summary of Plot: a caterpillar is very hungry so he eats his way through a lot of food. When he is full he curls up in a cocoon and sleeps. When he wakes up he is a butterfly.
Your Reaction to the book: this is a fun book to read to younger kids.
Potential Problems: this is not an informational book, so some of the things the caterpillar eats should not be fed to real caterpillars.
Recommendations: everyone will have fun reading this book.

The Giving Tree

Author: Shel Silverstein
Title: The Giving Tree
Publishing information: Harper and Row, 1964, 4-8 (Publisher, Date, Reading Level)
Number of Pages: 64
Genre: picture book

Summary of Plot: A tree gives everything to a boy as he grows up. He gives apple, shade and wood for a boat and stump when the boy is a young man.
Your Reaction to the book: this book had a good lesson for everyone, sharing.
Potential Problems: even thought the tree gives everything and is sad it shouldn’t discourage us from sharing.
Recommendations: this book is a classic that everyone should read.

Love You Forever

Author: Robert Munsch
Title: Love You Forever
Publishing information: Firefly Books Ltd., 1995, 4-8
Number of Pages: 32
Genre: picture book

Summary of Plot: A mother sneaks into her babies room and rocks him in her arms and says “I’ll love you forever/ I’ll love you always/ As long as I’m living/ My baby you’ll be. She continues this as he get older, even as a man she sneaks into his room to rock him. When she is an old lady, the man comes into her room and rocks her in his arms.
Your Reaction to the book: I love this book so much. I loved it when my mother read this book to me.
Potential Problems: if a child is missing a parent, or doesn’t live with their mom, this could be a hard book for them to read.
Recommendations: this is a great book to read to younger kids

Dear America; Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Dairy of Margart Ann Brandy

Author: Ellen Emerson White
Title: Dear America: Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Dairy of Margaret Ann Brandy
Publishing information: Scholastic Inc, 1998, 9-12
Number of Pages: 197
Genre: Historical Fiction
Summary of Plot: Margaret becomes a companion to Mrs. Carstairs on the titanic. Margaret’s older brother in already in America waiting for her arrival. While on the ship, she meets many rich and famous people, she also explores the ship. She makes friends with the cabin steward. When then the ship crashes into the iceberg she helps Mrs. Carstairs into a boat. Because of her lower class she is not allowed onto a boat right away, so she goes looking for her friend the cabin steward. When she finds him she learns that all the employees are sticking together and staying on the ship. Her time is running out and she is finally able to get on one of the last boats. From the water she watches the ship go down. Her boat is so close that they go back looking for survivors. When the sun comes up they are saved by a passing ship, and taken the rest of the way to America.
Your Reaction to the book: I like this book, because it has historical value.
Potential Problems: this book is an easy read, and doesn’t really give a lot of information, but enough to entertain kids.
Recommendations: kids who love history and want to learn more about the Titanic.

Lincoln: A photobiography

Author: Russell Freedman
Title: Lincoln: A Photobiography
Publishing information: Sandpiper, 1989, 9-12
Number of Pages: 160
Genre: Biography

Summary of Plot: look into Lincoln’s life through the photos. This book covers his life, career and death. It’s easy to read and the pictures are enjoyable.
Your Reaction to the book: I love learning about history and see pictures of the time period was awesome.
Potential Problems: some of the picture about the civil war can be a bit graphic.
Recommendations: even though this is a children’s book I think it’s a great book for everyone.

Love That Dog

Author: Sharon Creech
Title: Love that Dog
Publishing information: Harper Collins, 2001, 9-12
Number of Pages: 128
Genre: poetry

Summary of Plot: Jack doesn’t like writing, but with his teachers promptings he tells, through poems about this dog, Sky. This book is filled with poems, originals and classic.
Your Reaction to the book: I thought that this book was going to be boring, but with the poetry it’s entertaining.
Potential Problems: This is a sad and a happy book, so be aware of some sad parts
Recommendations: if you are trying to get kids interested or excited about poetry ask them to read this book.


Author: Jerry Spinelli
Title: Stargirl
Publishing information: Knopf books, 2002, 12-14
Number of Pages: 208
Genre: Non-fiction

Summary of Plot: From the point of view of Leo, a popular boy at school. When a new girl, Susan aka stargirl, comes to school, she is different, she dressed weird and does what she likes, like sing happy birthday to random people. After being accepted by the school, she becomes popular and a cheerleader. When she starts cheering for both teams at the championships, everyone starts to hate her, except Leo. They start dating, and he learn from her how to caring, and selfish. The other girls at school are jealous and bully Susan and make her fell unwelcomed. Leo never sees Startgirl again. The school in never the same after Stargirl leaves, more people start acting as individuals.
Your Reaction to the book: This book taught me a lot, when I read it the first time in Middle school. Even though Stargirl is a little weird, I think she gets the point across to the reader.
Potential Problems: this book is for an older group of kids, I don’t think that younger kids would understand the politics in this book.
Recommendations: I think everyone who is going into their teenage years should read this book.

Children Just Like Me

Author: Unicef
Title: Children Just Like Me
Publishing information: DK Children, 1995, 9-12
Number of Pages: 80
Genre: Informational

Summary of Plot: Learn about all types of children around the world. Even though we might look and act a little different we are all basically the same
Your Reaction to the book: I learned a lot from this book, there were so many things that I hadn’t even thought about when it came to kids from different parts of the world. My favorite part was looking at the different clothes.
Potential Problems: This book was put out by Unicef so it was sort of bias.
Recommendations: I think that this book would be great for younger kids because it has great pictures.

A Single Shard

Author: Linda Sue Park
Title: A Single Shard
Publishing information: A Yearling Book, 2001, 9-12
Number of Pages: 152
Genre: Historical Fiction

Summary of Plot: Tree-ear, an orphan in Korea in the 12th century, is passionate about ceramics. After breaking a piece of Master Min’s Tree-ear starts to work off the debt. Soon he is given more responsibilities. After an Embassy, from the royal palace, comes to their town and offers Min a commission, it is up to Tree-ear to get the pieces to the palace. He is robbed and the vases are destroyed. Tree-ear takes the biggest shard to the palace and gets his master another commission, and Tree-ear becomes a true apprentice.
Your Reaction to the book: this book has lot of historical facts. Each piece that is mentioned is in existence. I learned a lot about Korea and its art.
Potential Problems: This book talks about bravery, the one part I disagreed with was, committing suicide as an act of bravery.
Recommendations: this book would be great for kids who love reading about history or who is into ceramics.

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy

Author: Gary D. Schmidt
Title: Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy
Publishing information: A Yearling Book, 2004, 9-12
Number of Pages: 217
Genre: historical Fiction

Summary of Plot: Two kids from different worlds come together. Turner is new to town and he is the son of the new minister. A lot is expected from him, and he feels that everyone is watching him. Lizzie Bright a girl from Malaga Island, a community founded by a runaway slave, show turner a new world. Her learn what it mean to be yourself. When the elders in town decide to move the inhabitants from the island, Turner stands up against them. His father is killed trying to defend Turner’s life, and Lizzie is taken to mental hospital and dies 10 days later. Turner never forgets the lessons Lizzie taught him.
Your Reaction to the book: the book has a slow beginning, but when it picks up it becomes interesting. I liked the lessons that are taught in this book, I think they are great for all kids to learn.
Potential Problems: this book has some strong racist under tone from the towns people, and there is violence at the end, that might not be good for younger kids.
Recommendations: kids who are interested in historical events.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Long Way from Chicago

Richard Peck
A Long Way from Chicago
Publishing info: Penguin, 1998, 9-12
Number of pages: 176
Genre: Fiction
Richard Peck
A Long Way from Chicago
Publishing info: Penguin, 1998, 9-12
Number of pages: 176
Genre: Fiction
Summary of Plot: every summer Joey and his sister Mary Alice visit their grandma in the country. Every chapter is a different year, and their adventures with grandma.
Your Reaction to the book: the best part is love that the grandma shows for her Grandkids. She never says it, but her actions speak louder than words. One year she gets Joey a free airplane ride at the fair, years later when Joey joins the air force, the Grandma stays up all might to watch his train go by her house.
Recommendations: the humor in this book makes this book great for everyone.

A Year Down Yonder

Richard Peck
A year down yonder
Publishing information: Dial, 2000, 9-12
Number of pages: 130
Genre: Nonfiction

Summary of Plot: During the Great Depression Mary Alice has to live with her grandma for a year. She used to spend a week every summer with her brother at her Grandma’s, but Joey is in West working. Her year with Grandma is filled with adventure. We see the care free, level headiness and hardworking attitude of Grandma. When she has to leave at the end of the year is sad to say good-bye.
Your reaction to the book: You come to love the characters in this book. Everyone has a person like Grandma in their lives. I loved this book.
Recommendations: The humor in this book makes it’s a great book for anyone to read.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ruby Bridges

Author: Robert Coles
Title: Rudy Bridges
Publishing information: Scholastic Inc, 1995, 7-10
Number of Pages: 13
Genre: Biography
Summary of Plot: Rudy Bridges comes from a religious family. When she is picked as one out of four black girls to attend an all white school, she does so bravely. She is escorted in the building everyday by federal marshals, and is the only kid in her class. One day she stops in the middle of the crowd to say her morning prayers, which she had forgotten to say earlier. After school, she walked a couple blocks away and said her second prayer. Later that year she is joined by other kids in her class room.
Your Reaction to the book: this book was interesting, with a religious message. I wish it could have told us more about her experience.
Potential Problems: This book is bias; it only gives the story from one perspective.
Recommendations: This story gives a great short story about a big event during the civil rights movement.

Redwall: Martin the Warrior

Author: Brain Jacques
Title: Redwall: Martin the Warrior
Publishing information: Puffin/Philomel Books, 1993, ages 9-12
Number of Pages: 376 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Summary of Plot: The co-founder of Redwall, this book starts with Martin as a slave for Badrand the Tyrant. Martin vows that he will be free and he will reclaim the sword Badrand stole from him. Soon after, Martin escapes with some friends. Tramun Clogg a pirate arrives and tries to claim some slave. Without success, he then decides the besiege the Fort. The slaves still in the fort take the opportunity to gather weapons for themselves.
Mean while Brome and Felldoh met up with traveling actors and Martin and his group are captured by shrews. After Martin saves the queen’s son they are set free. The Traveling Actors put on a play for the Fort and are able to free half of the slaves. When the other half of the slaves escape Badrang and Tramun join up to capture the escaped slaves. While the battle goes on to recapture slaves Tramun takes the fort, but Badrang retakes it making Tramun a slave.
Martin finally gets the help he need to attack the fort, he joins up with the Traveling actors and attack the fort. He reclaims his sword, but the girl of Martin’s dream is killed. Filled with grief he head towards Mossflower Woods, where he ends up in Redwall Abbey.
Your Reaction to the book: Martin the Warrior was the first book that I read in this series and I enjoyed it the most. Martin and his friends show true loyalty and friendship.
Potential Problems: there is more violence in this book, than any other in the series.
Recommendations: kids who like animals, or who are looking for another type of adventure book.


Author: Brain Jacques
Title: Redwall
Publishing information: Puffin/Philomel Books, 1986, ages 9-12
Number of Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Summary of Plot: When the Abbey Redwall is under attack from the evil one-eyed rat, Cluny the Scourge, the young mouse Matthias finds the lost sword of Martin the Warrior and defends the Abbey. With the help of Methuselah, the old Liberian, he is able to go on the quest and find the legendary sword. The clues have been built into the walls of the Abbey. When they find the location of the sword, it’s gone. It was taken by a sparrow that lives on the roof and then the evil Adder, Amadeus. With the help of the wild shrews, Basil the Hare, the snow owl Squire Julian and the princess Sparrow he is able to overcome the evil adder. He gets back to Redwall as it falls to the Evil Cluny the Scourage. With the help of his old friend and the inhabitants of Redwall they are able to save their home.
Your Reaction to the book: I have always enjoyed reading the Redwall series. I think they are full of adventure and the characters show true bravery.
Potential Problems: there is a lot of violence
Recommendations: kids who like animals, or who are looking for another type of adventure book.

A Conspiracy of Kings

Author: Megan Whalen Turner
Title: A Conspiracy of Kings
Publishing information: Greenwillow Books, 2010, ages 9- 12
Number of Pages: 336 pages
Genre: Fiction
Summary of Plot: The young Sophos is the heir to his kingdom, but he loves poets and has no interest in politics. While at his family’s villa he is kidnapped and sold into slavery. While performing manual labor he grows surer of himself as a leader. He escapes when he sees his father walk into a trap. He travels to Attolia to get support from his friend the king, Eugenides. The rest of the story revealed at the end with the twist in the plot. After leaving Attolia and some troops he lets himself be captured by the enemy. He lets them think that he will let them peacefully into his kingdom. After he is voted king he chases them away. His troops that he brought with him were hiding, waiting to attack. Attolia also sent troop to help.
Your Reaction to the book: This book is the fourth of a series. It follows the authors writing pattern, cleaver and witty.
Potential Problems: some time plans don’t always go according to plan. This book didn’t seem to have that problem.
Recommendations: This book would be a great read for kids if they love Greek or Roman mythology.

Small Steps

Author: Louis Sachar
Title: Small Steps
Publishing information: Delacorte books for young readers, 2008, ages 9-12
Number of Pages: 288 pages
Genre: Modern Fiction
Summary of Plot: Armpit from Holes, is trying to avoid falling back into his old life. He is attending school, so he can graduate, and has a job so he can have money. He is taking small steps to correct his life. But when X-Ray asked him for a favor, Armpit knows there is going to be trouble. They buy tickets to a Kaira concert and then scalp them. When Armpit wants to take his handicap neighbor, Ginny to the show, X-Ray gives Armpit counterfeit tickets. There is a big scene and Ginny has a seizure. Kaira invites the two backstage for the concert. Armpit’s life starts to get complicated when the police start asking questions about the tickets. Then Kaira asked Arm pit to come to San Francisco. The manager tries to frame Armpit for murdering Kaira, but Armpit ends up saving her. When Armpit gets home he decides to stick with taking small steps, and everything ends up working out for him.
Your Reaction to the book: This book was an interesting view of Armpits life. You can tell that he is sincere about wanting to change.
Potential Problems: turning over a new leaf is not as easy as this book presents it to be. There are a lot of struggles one faces, when trying to change.
Recommendations: young kids from taught backgrounds, I think that this book could help them see that change is hard but good.

The Littles

Author: John Peterson
Title: The Littles
Publishing information: Scholastic Inc, 1967, age 8-11
Number of Pages: 80
Genre: Modern fiction, Fantasy
Summary of Plot: The Littles are tiny people who live in the Biggs’ house. When the Biggs leave for vacation and the Newmans move in. The Littles are worried that things will change, and not to their liking. The Newmans are messy and not very good cooks. The little have to chase away the mice trying to invade. Tom Little comes up with a idea to get the Newmans to help with the mice problem. Tom dresses up like a mouse and scares Mrs. Newman. Instead on lay out traps, the Newmans get a cat. Once again its little Tom who comes up with a solution, he trains the cat.
Your Reaction to the book: This book is short and fun. Tom little comes up with some great solutions to their problems
Potential Problems: Not everything has an easy solution.
Recommendations: Littler kids with short attention spans.

The Graveyard Book

Author: Neil Gailman
Title: The Graveyard Book
Publishing information: Haper Collins, 2008, age 9-12
Number of Pages: 307
Genre: Modern Fiction
Summary of Plot: After Nobody Owens family is murdered when he is one year old by a man names Jack. Nobody lives in the graveyard, watched over by the friendly spirits there. This book covers his adventures from a toddler to a teenager. He learns about the graveyard and the different talents of the ghost. Bod makes friends with a human girl, Scarlet, but she leaves when she is five. Later she comes back when she is fourteen and returns to the graveyards. Unknowingly she leads the man named Jake to Nobody. When the man Jake finds Bod, there is nobody who can help him. We find out that Bod’s family was killed because of an ancient prophecy, which would end the organization of Jakes. In the end Nobody succeeds, but leaves the graveyard because he is no longer a child.
Your Reaction to the book: This book was fun and interesting. The story keeps you in and you want to read more. It was tasteful for taking place in a graveyard.
Potential Problems: Some people probably would not like some aspects of this book, the ghouls and ghosts.
Recommendations: Those who are not afraid of ghost.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Fir Tree

Author: Andersen
Title: The Fir Tree
Genre: Fairy Tale
Summary of Plot: A young Fir Tree in the forest wishes to be a tall tree, he doesn’t think about all the splendid things in the forest. When the taller trees are cut down he is told they become masses to ships. When he sees the little trees being cut down, he hears that they are for Christmas. He wants to become a Christmas tree. He is cut down and place inside a house, where he spends his greatest night. The next day he is placed in attic for the winter. He tells the mice and rats about the stories he heard, but they soon lose interest in him. In the spring he is drought put of the attic and chopped up.
Your Reaction to the book: The tree annoyed me. He was always looking for something else and not enjoying what he had.
Potential Problems: the story never explained what the meaning of the story was. there could have been a lot of different meaning to this story.
Recommendations: I think everyone should know this fairy tale.

A Story of a Mother

Author: Andersen
Title: A Story of a Mother
Genre: Fairy Tale
Summary of Plot: A mother loses her child, so she chases after death to get the child back. She comes to a woman dressed in black, who says she is Night. Night will point the mother in the right direction if she will sing a song. The mother sings the song and gets direction. She then comes to a Thorn-bush that is freezing. It tells the mother it warmed it up, it will let her past. The mother puts it close to her, the thrones cut in to her skin, but the mother does not put it down until it is warm. She comes to a frozen lake she cannot cross, but for her eyes is helped across. She finally gets to Death’s greenhouse. An old woman lets her in for her long black hair. When she finally finds her baby, that now a flower, death show up and asks her what she wants. Death tells her she can have her baby if she picks the right flower off of her babies stem. One will bring happiness and the other sorrow. The mother doesn’t know what one to choose.
Your Reaction to the book: This story makes you wonder what a mother would do for her child. This mother goes through a lot.
Potential Problems: some of the things the mother goes through are harsh; it makes me wonder if this is a story for kids or an older age group.
Recommendations: everyone, it’s nice reading a story that shows how much a mother will go through.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Little Match Girl

Author: Andersen
Title: Little Match Girl
Genre: Fairy Tale
Summary of Plot: a little girl sells matches. One night, after she isn’t able to sell any, she is out late, afraid to go home. When she lights a match she is able to see all the beautiful things in the town. She sees a shooting star and knows that means a soul has left the earth. She strikes another match and sees her grandmother. She asks her grandmother to take her with her. The little girl strikes a whole bunch of matches to keep the image of her grandmother close to her. the next morning the town finds the little girl, and they think the lighted matched were used to keep her warm, they don’t know what they were really used for.
Your Reaction to the book: This story is sad a beautiful. The sad part is the girls life, the beautiful part is how she spends her last night, looking at this so beautiful.
Potential Problems: this story is very sad and dark and I don’t know if it is appropriate for some age groups
Recommendations: this is a great fairy tale and everyone should know it.

The Peasant in Heaven

Author Grimm
Title: the Peasant in Heaven
Genre: Fairy Tales
Summary of Plot: a peasant dies and he stands by a pearly gates. At the same time he dies a rich had also died. St. Peter comes out and lets the rich man in but leaves the poor and out. The poor man could hear the cheering and celebrating for the rich man. Finally St. Peter lets the peasant in, by now the party was over. The Peasant expected everyone to give him the same celebration, but they didn’t. As the peasant was being led through heaven he asked the angles why he didn’t get the same treatment. The answered that peasants go to heaven every day while it only ones in a hundred rich man make it to heaven.
Your Reaction to the book: at first I thought I was a depressing story, but I understand now that what it is saying. It is harder for a rich man to get into heaven than a humble poor man.
Potential Problems: not everyone is being treated fairly
Recommendations: this story has a good moral to it. I would leave it to the older age group to read.

Emperor's New Clothes

Author: Andersen
Title: The Emperor’s New Clothes
Genre: Fairy Tales
Summary of Plot: there once was an Emperor who loves new clothes. Two strangers came into town and told the Emperor of the splendid clothes they made. The fake weavers pretended to get to work at once. The Emperor could not see what they where making, not wanting to look like a fool, he did not say anything. The fake weaver’s fooled everyone in the court, because they also didn’t want to look like fools. The imposters had fooled everyone, because no one wanted to say they could see anything and look like a fool. The king was dressed in his invisible clothes and went for a walk. No one said anything, except a little child.
Your Reaction to the book: I always find this story amusing, that so many people can be fooled. I guess it’s a great commentary for anyone, and we should not follow the crowd to avoid looking like a fool, because in the end we will no matter what.
Potential Problems: the Emperor asks those who are faithful and loyal and they lie to him.
Recommendations: I think any kid would like this book.

Three Little Pigs

Author: Jacobs
Title: The Three Little Pigs
Genre: Fairy Tales
Summary of Plot: an old sow tells her sons to go build their own houses. The first asks a man to sell his some straw so he can build a house. Soon after wards a wolf comes by and asks the pig if he can come in, after being denied the wolf blows down the house and eats the pig. The next son buys some wood, and builds his house. The wolf comes by and asks to come in. the pig tell him no, so he blows the house down and eats the pig. The last pig buys some bricks and makes his house strong. The wolf tries to blow it down but can’t. So the wolf tries to trick the pig out of his house, but it does not work. Finally he tries going down the chimney, but falls into a pot of water, and the pig eats him for dinner.
Your Reaction to the book: this story reminds me of the wise man who build his house on the rock. He is prepared for anything, just like the last pig.
Potential Problems: the wolf is eating people.
Recommendations: this is a great kids book with lots of repetition

Cap O' Rushes

Author: Jacobs
Title: Cap O’ Rushes
Genre: Fairy Tales
Summary of Plot: A rich gentleman asks him three daughters how much they love him. The youngest does not please him with her answer, so he sends her away. He covers her clothes in rushes and gets a job as a maid. They gave her the name Cap O’Rushes because she did not give then her real name. At night the servants go dancing with the gentleman and ladies. Cap O’Rushes stays behind, but once everyone is gone she cleans up and goes in her nice clothes and returns before the other servants get back. The master’s son fall in love with her, and the second dance gives her a gold ring. The next day the cook asks her to make gruel for the master who is sick in bed because of love. She places the gold ring at the bottom of the bowl. When the man finds the ring he calls for the cook and asks who made the gruel. Cap O’Rushes is brought to him and admits the ring was given to her. She reveals herself as the young lady at the dances, they get married and she makes peace with her father.
Your Reaction to the book: this story was ok. I liked the how she made peace with her father.
Potential Problems: she tricks the people around her by not telling them who she really was.
Recommendations: everyone should be familiar with fairy tales.

The Three Bears

Author: Jacobs
Title: The Three Bears
Genre: Fairy Tales
Summary of Plot: There are three bears, Papa Mama and baby. After breakfast is made they go for a walk. While they are gone a little old woman comes in a tries the porridge. After trying all the bowls, and she finds she likes the little bowl the best. Then she sits in the chairs and finds she likes the smallest one best, but she breaks is. Then she goes to the bed room and only likes the smallest bed, and she soon falls asleep. The bears come home and see that things are out of place. They find the woman asleep in the little bears bed. She wakes up and jumps out the window.
Your Reaction to the book: It was the Fairy tale that I was use to as a child, except I always thought it was a young lady, not old.
Potential Problems: strangers breaking into people’s houses.
Recommendation: I think that this is a cute kids story, because of the repetition.

The Three Sillies

Author: Jacobs
Title: The Three Sillies
Genre: Fairy Tales
Summary of Plot: A farmer and his wife’s daughter is courted by a gentleman. At dinner the daughter goes down to the cellar to get beer. She sees a mallet stuck in a beam. She thinks, what if she gets married and her child comes down her and the mallet falls and kills the kids. She is so upset that she sits down and cries. The mother then the father comes down to inquire what is taking so long. She tells each of them what she thought about the mallet. They sit down and cry with her. Finally the gentleman comes and sees the three crying, when he finds out why they are crying, he says he will come back if and when he finds three people sillier then them. He meets a lady trying to get her cow on her roof, to eat the grass, one the cow is up, the woman puts a rope around the cow’s neck and them around her waist. The cow falls and kills them both. When he stops at an inn, he has to share a room. Then next morning when he is getting dressed, his roommate has his pants strung up and is trying to up into the pants. He passes a town that is reaching into a pond trying to save the moon, he tries to explain, but they ignore him he soon returns to the farmer and marries his daughter.
Your Reaction to the book: I know a lot of people who act silly. Sometimes it’s because they don’t listen to or because they over react to things.
Potential Problems: We should take advice from people when it’s sensible.
Recommendations: I think this fairy tale is appropriate for all ages.

Ricky the Tuft

Author: Perrault
Title: Ricky of the Tuft
Genre: Fairy Tales
Summary of Plot: A Queen has an ugly son, but a fairy promises that he will have plenty of brain and he will be able to save with the person whom he loves best the same degree of intelligence as he possesses. In the next kingdom over, the queen has twins. The youngest would have no sense at all and the as stupid as she was beautiful. The older would be able to share her beauty with the one. They both became great beauties, but the oldest was cleaver and more liked, and the younger became jealous. Ricky goes to the youngest sister and asks her to marry him and he will be able to share his gift with her. He gives her a year to decide. Once she agrees to marry him, she becomes cleaver and witty. She meets Ricky again and promises her love to him and he becomes handsome.
Potential Problems: beauty in not everything neither is cleverness. I think people but too much focus emphasis on the beauty part and forget about cleverness.
Your Reaction to the book: I thought that the story was good.
Recommendations: I thought a that the point of this story would be good for teenagers to hear, as it could remind them that beauty is not everything and that only being clever is not enough either.

Puss in Boots

Author: Perrault
Title: Master Cat or Puss in Boots
Genre: Fairy Tale
Summary of Plot: A miller dies and gives all his possessions to his sons. The Miller gives the oldest the mill, the second the donkey, and the last son a cat. The last son thinks he is given the raw end of the deal. But the cat proves otherwise. Dressed in boots the cat goes and catches a rabbit. He takes his catch to the king and claims it’s from his master. The next time he brings the king two partridges. For months the cat brings things to the king claiming it’s from his master. One day when he hears that the king is going to travel down the river, he tells his own master of a good place to bath. As the king travels the cat sees his master but tells the king that his master has been robbed by thieves. The king offers to help the young man. The young man is welcomed into the carriage. As they travel further down, the cat runs ahead and tells the workers that they work for his master. The cat gets to a castle that belongs to an ogre, with wealth and power. He tricks the ogre to change himself into a mouse, where Puss pounced and ate it. With the castle empty, the cat leads the party into the castle. That day the miller’s youngest son marries the princes.
Your Reaction to the book: I thought that this story is cleaver. Puss in boots is a creative character, and very clever.
Potential Problems: The cat gains by lying and tricking others.
Recommendations: this was a fun story of being cleaver.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sleeping Beauty

Author: Perrault
Title: Sleeping Beauty
Genre: Fairy Tale
Summary of Plot: A King and Queen are finally able to have a child they invite 7 fairies to be the child’s godmother. They forget to invite one, and she becomes angry and curses the child. That she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die. But a young fairy, which has saved her blessing for last, counters the curse and blesses the girl that she will not die, but will fall asleep for a hundred years and a prince will come to wake her up. Sixteen years later, the princess pricks her finger and falls into a deep sleep. The fairy places everyone in the castle under a spell that they will sleep until the princess wakes up.
A hundred years later and a prince hear about the hidden castle and the beautiful woman inside of it. He fall in love with her and marries her at once. He does not reveal to his parents that he is married until, two years later, when he gets the thorn. By then he has two children, Dawn and Day. Some years later he goes to war and leaves his mother in charge. She orders the steward to kill Dawn and fed it to her, but he hides the child and feeds her a lamb. Then she orders him to feed her Day, but he hides the child and feeds her a lamb. Next she asks him to kill the queen and serve that to her. He also hides the queen and gives the mother something else. When the queen finds out that she has been tricked, she plans on killing everyone and eating them, but the king comes home and saves everyone.
Your Reaction to the book: I was not expecting the second half of the story. I know the first part, but didn’t know there was more after the princes woke up the princess.
Potential Problems: We should not fear in-laws. This story gives us a good reason to.
Recommendations: I thought that this story would be enjoyed by girls because it has that romantic aspect of the princes saving the princes.

Little Red Riding Hood

Author: Perrault
Title: Little Red Riding Hood
Genre: Fairy Tale
Summary of Plot: Little Red Riding Hood is sent to her grandmother’s house with some treats because she is sick. Along Riding Hood meets a wolf. She tell the wolf about her grandma. He takes the shorter road, and she takes the longer road. The Wolf gets there before she does and eats the grandma, and then disguises himself as grandma. When Riding Hood shows up, the wolf invites her into the bed with him. After Little Red Riding Hood comments on the wolf’s appearance, the wolf eats her.
Your Reaction to the book: It was what I was expecting, the wolf meeting Red Riding Hood and eating her and her grandma. I am surprised that there was nothing further in the story, that there is no hunter to come save them.
Potential Problems: Little Red Riding Hood should not have talked to a wolf because he is a threat. But children are not going to be meeting wolf, the strangers they meet are not going to look like threats
Recommendations: Little kids should be warned about talking to strangers and giving away to much information.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snow-White and The Seven Dwarfs

Author: Grimm Brothers
Title: Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs, Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales
Publishing information: Barnes and Noble Publishing, 1993,
Number of Pages: 328-336,
Genre: Fairy Tale
Summary of Plot: Snow-White’s Step Mother, the Queen, is jealous of Snow-White’s beauty. So the Step Mother send a hunter out to kill Snow-White, but he takes pity on her and lets her live. He kills a pig and shows the heart to the Queen. Snow-White runs into the wood and lives in a house with 7 dwarfs. When the Queen’s mirror tells her that Snow-White is still a live she goes out looking for her. She first strangles her with ribbon, but the dwarfs come in time and save her. Then the Queen tries a poisoned comb, but again the dwarfs save her. Lastly she gives the girl a poisoned apple. The dwarfs could not save her. Because she was beautiful they could not bury her, so they place her in a coffin of clear glass. One day a Prince rides by and see her. She is so beautiful that he buys the coffin and takes it home with him. As they moved the coffin about, the apple flew out of her mouth and she woke up. The Prince decides to marry her. At the wedding feast Snow-White’s Step mother say her and was angry with jealousy. The wedding party was waiting for her and made her wear red-hot iron shoes in which she has to dance until she died.
Your Reaction to the book: Reading the original version of this story was interesting. I follows pattern of 3. The step mother needs to come to Snow-White before she successful.
Potential Problems: The Killing is gruesome and all the ways the step mother tries to kill Snow-white. Kids from separated families could have a hard time with the evil step mother. they might think that all step mothers are this way
Recommendations: Every child need to be familiar with Fairy Tales.

If I Ran the Zoo

Author: Dr. Seuss
Title: If I Ran the Zoo
Publishing information: Random House, 1950, 4-8
Number of Pages: 64
Genre: Picture Book

Summary of Plot: A little boy goes to the zoo, but only sees boring animals. He dreams of all the exotic animals he would catch and put in his zoo, like Bustard, a family of Joats, and Lunks.
Your Reaction to the book: this was a fun book, one of my favorites because of all the fin words.

Potential Problems: This book could be hard for beginning readers and discourage them.

Recommendations: Beginner readers should read this book, because shows them the worlds that reading can open up for them.

When I was King

Author: Linda Ashman
Title: When I Was King
Publishing information: Harper Collins Publisher, 2008, 4-8
Number of Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book

Summary of Plot: A big brother needs to get use to the idea of a younger sibling. He no longer get all the attention and he has to share his stuff. When the baby brakes stuff he that the baby is to small to understand and that he is a big kid can do more. He comes like all the things he can do now because he is older and comes to like taking care of the little sibling.
Your Reaction to the book: I thought that this book was well planned out. The little boys change was at a good time in the book. The pictures were water paint. There was not a constant rhythm, but enough to make reading it interesting.

Potential Problems: Not every older brother will start to change like the little boy in this book.

Recommendations: If a parent is expecting to have another baby, this book is a good way to talk about jealously and growing up.

The Little Red Elf

Author: Barbara Barbieri McGrath
Title: The Little Red Elf
Publishing information: Charlesbridge, 2009,4-8
Number of Pages:32
Genre: Seasonal, Picture Book

Summary of Plot: This is the story of the Red Hen, but with a reindeer, penguin, hare a elf. The Elf does all the work while the others where lazy. When Christmas comes around the elf asked who wants to help with the presents. There is a twist in this story. She lets them open the presents, but they are not filled with amazing gifts but little red hen that say “one little red hen for you”
Your Reaction to the book: The story was constructed just like the story of the Little Red Hen, but in the end the Elf doesn’t make her friend help her, she get her revenge in another way. The pages are painted with Acrylic paint, and a black ball point.

Potential Problems: you need to know the story of the little red hen, or the ending would be confusing.

Recommendations: To help bring the Christmas spirit to children

Counting Crocodiles

Author: Judy Sierra
Title: Counting Crocodiles
Publishing information: Gulliver Books, 1997, 4-8
Number of Pages: 40
Genre: Counting, Picture Book

Summary of Plot: On an island lives a monkey in a lemon tree, she want to get to another island to get the bananas, but between the islands are crocodiles. She fools the crocodiles to come to the surface and the monkey counts them as she crosses the water.

Your Reaction to the book: this book was written in a rhyme, and deals with counting. The pictured where fun, with all the crazy crocodiles. The pictures are oil, oil pastel, water color and gouache on vellum.

Potential Problems: this book doesn’t but emphasis on the danger of crocodiles. I also think the facts about where the crocodiles live are untrue.

Recommendations: This counting book had cute pictures. The crazy crocodiles and the progression and digression of numbers where interesting and I think any kid would like it.

Animals of the Cold

Author: Valerie Videau
Title: Animals of the Cold
Publishing information: Firefly Books, 2003, Ages 4-8
Number of Pages: 28
Genre: Informational, Picture Book

Summary of Plot: This fun little book has pages that fold out that show more information about the animals. It starts with a board map of the world, than narrows down to certain areas of the world that are cold. Polar Bears, penguins, seals, whales, birds, foxes. The book shows where the animals live, what they do in different seasons, and what would happen if their environment went away. There are also fun interactive games, like matching, counting, and guessing.
Your Reaction to the book: This book had a heavy political agenda. It was fun to learn more about the animals.

Potential Problems: The political agenda did have damper on the book. The kids won’t see it, but the adults will.

Recommendations: Young kids who are interested in animals. This is a great book to start them off on.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Number the Stars

Author: Lois Lowry
Title: Number the Stars
Publishing information: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1989, Ages 9-12
Number of Pages: 137
Genre: Historical Fiction

Summary of Plot: Annemarie her family live in Demark during World War 2. Their neighbors and friends are Jews. Annemarie and her family help their neighbors cross the ocean to Sweden. When the Germans come to collect the Jews her family helps hid them and takes them to the sea. Annemarie’s uncle, who is a fisher, takes the Jewish families across the sea.
Your Reaction to the book: I thought that this book was very insightful. I learned a lot about the Demark and the German occupation. I was amazing to learn about how Jewish were able to get out of German occupation countries. There was a lot of hope in this book.

Potential Problems: There was not a lot of mention of the war, but a lot of facts to go with it

Recommendations: people who like historical events, or teaching about what being brave means.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Wanderings of Odysseus

Author: Rosemary Sutcliff
Title: Wandering of Odysseus
Publishing information: Random House, 1995, Ages 9-12
Number of Pages: 131
Genre: Traditional Literature
Summary of Plot: After the Trojian War, Odysseus is heading home, but Poseidon has it out for Odysseus and doesn’t want him to make it home. Odysseus gets lost and runs many strange islands. He runs into a Cyclops, Circe the land of the dead. When he finally returns home, he finds his home full of suitors. He wins an archery contest and then he chases the other men out of the city.

Your Reaction to the book: the book was boring and dummied down.

Potential Problems: There are a lot of gaps in this story; it loses its beauty in the retelling.

Recommendations: Kids that love traditional stories, or interested in Greek stories.


Author: Louis Sachar
Title: Holes
Publishing information: Yearling, 2000, 9-12
Number of Pages: 272
Genre: Modern Fantasy
Summary of Plot: Stanley Yelnats the 4th is cursed, so is all the males in this family, because of his “No- Good-Dirty- Rotten-Pig-Stealing- Great-Great-Grandpa. Now Stanley is being sent to Camp Green Lake because he has been accused of stealing a famous baseball player’s shoes from a Homeless Shelter. The Moto at Camp Green Lake is “If you take a bad boy and make him dig a hole everyday in the hot sun, it will turn him into a good boy.” The boys have to dig a 5x5x5 hole, the size of the shovels, every day.
This book covers 3 stories. The first is Stanley at Camp Green Lake and his new friend Zero. The second story is of Kissin’ Kate Barlow aka Miss Kate, who lived in the town 110 years before Camp Green Lake. The Third story is of Stanley’s No-Good-Dirty-Rotten-Pig-Stealing-Great-Great-Grandpa.

Kate is a nice, loving teacher, who loves to make spice peaches. She develops feeling for Sam, a black onion farmer. One night they kiss, but its back news for Sam. The Mayor’s son (who ends up being the Warden’s Grandfather) finds out and kills Sam. Miss Kate goes bad and becomes Kissin’ Kate Barlow, becoming one of the biggest outlaws in the West. She even runs into Stanley Yelnats, the first, who after making millions and heading to California, she hijacks his money. At the end of her life she returns to the Green Lake area and buries her money. Leaving the Mayor of Green Lake and his family to digging for it.

Elya is Stanley’s Great-great grandfather. Back in Latvia he falls in love with a girl, but to marry her he must produce a fat pig. He goes to the gypsy, Madam Zeroni, who tells him to carry a pig up a mount, let it drink from the water and sing to it, and then he has to carry Madam Zeroni up the mountain too. But the pig ends up being too small and angry Elya leave for America, and madam Zeroni Curses Elya with bad luck.

Back at Camp Green Lake Stanley is fitting in with the boys for the first time. He helps Zero learn how to read. When he finds something interesting to show to the Warden, X-ray demands that he gets it because he has been at the camp longer. The whole camp is put on the same digging job, but nothing is found. With the tension building in camp, Zero runs away and Stanley goes after him. Living out in desert Zero lives off of old canned peaches. Stanley carries him up a mountain and gets him to water. The Onions they eat from the area protect them from the Yellow spotted lizards. Feeling lucky for the first time Stanley and Zero head back to Camp Green Lake and dig up Kissin’ Kate’s treasure. Stanley’s Lawyer shows up to take him home. In the end everyone gets what they deserve.

Your Reaction to the book: This was a fun book with the flash backs and how everything fit together. I really like it when an author only adds things to his books that enrich them. Louis Sachar does an exultant job at putting in just the right information to keep the reader interested

Potential Problems: Sachar portrays adults as the bad guys. They are unapproachable and they are not really trying to help the kids.

Recommendations: Someone who is looking for something different and interesting.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Magic School Bus

Author: Joanna Cole
Title: The Magic School bus: On the Ocean floor
Publishing Information: Scholastic Inc. 1992, Ages 4-8
Number of Pages: 32
Genre:picture book; Informational

Summary: Ms. Frizzle’s class is learning about the ocean. To complete their projects Ms. Frizzle takes the class to the beach, but they don’t stop at the sand, they go right into the water. They learn about the Tide Pool, Continental Shelf, and the Coral Reef. They learn about the animals that live there, from the microscopic to the shark! As they get deeper the water get darker and the animals stranger. Along for a ride is a Life Guard who helps the kids learn about the habit of underwater life, and the movement of the waves and how this affects the ocean.

Reaction: The notes on the sides of the pages written by the kids where very insightful, they fun.

Problems: Buses can’t really drive under water. Magic isn’t real.

Recommendation: I loved the magic school bus as a kid, and I loved rereading it now. These book are fun and are packed with information.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

King ThrushBeard

Author: Written down by the Grimm Brothers
Title: King ThrushBeard
Publishing Information:Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales, Barnes and Noble Publishing, 1993
Reading Level: All Ages
Page Numbers:43-47
Genre: Fairy Tales

Summary Plot: A conceited princess, will not marry because she doesn’t like any of the suitors. She mocks one and calls him the ThrushBeard. One day a Fiddler comes by and begs the king give him his conceited daughters. She sees all the things could have if she had married the ThrushBeard, but she gets a small cabin with no servants, and she has to work. All her hard work cures her of her pride, and she finds out her husband is King Grisly- Beard.

Reaction: I thought that this story was very cleaver. I think that a story about someone becoming humble is meaningful, and anyone can relate to.
Potential problems: This fairy tale is unique because the princes is cured of her pride. Like all fairy tales, though they don’t come true for everyone. Not everyone’s beggar is going to change into a prince.

Potential Problems: we can’t always have our lives turn into a fairy tale, and once we are given a task we should complete it no matter what.

Recommendations: Little girls with pride problems

The Great Gilly Hopkins

Author: Katherine Paterson
Title: The Great Gilly Hopkins
Publishing information: Harper Trophy, 1978, Ages 9-12
Number of Pages: 178
Genre:Contemporary Realistic Fiction

Summary Plot: Gilly is a foster child being moved to a new home. She knows what it takes to be taught and she is convinced she won’t be hurt again by this family. Miss. Ellis her social worker takes her to the dirty home of Mrs. Trotter. Trotter is a big woman and has been doing foster care for years. She takes care of little William Ernest Teague and the blind neighbor Mr. Randolph. Gilly more than anything wants to go home to her mother, so she writes her mother to tell her how awful the new home is. When she doesn’t receive a response she decides to take the matter into her own hands. She steals money from Mr. Randolph and Mrs. Trotter. Once caught Gilly comes to realize the love Mrs. Trotter has for all her Foster kids. She comes to love the little family. When things start getting regular for her in her new home, her Grandma shows up to take her home. Because of the letter Gilly sent her mother, convinced Gilly’s mother to contact her own mother to pick up Gilly.
Gilly realizes what love is in this book, and through Mrs. Trotters lessons, learns its ok to love somebody even if it hurts you, or scares you. Gilly is a tough girl because of the jumping around different homes. Mrs. Trotter has had many Foster kids, and even though they leave her she still loves them.

Potential Problems: Gilly is a mean girl, she picks fights. she has the attitude that things are rightfully hers. she starts the book with a narrow mind. The people who are trying to Help Gilly are not put into a good light (this could be because its from her point of view).
Your Reaction to the book: My parents do foster care, and I felt that this book, captured the feeling of the foster kids in a new home very well. I thought that Mrs. Trotter was a great foster parents, she loved the kids, but didn’t let them run her life.

Recommendation: Foster kids, Foster parents, teachers, friends of foster kids, if you have any contact with a foster kids, I think that this book to understand foster kids.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Grimm's Fairy Tale: Rumpelstiltskin

Author: Written down by the Grimm Brothers
Title: Rumpelstiltskin
Publishing information: Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales, Barnes & Noble Publishing, 1993,
Reading level: All ages
Number of pages: 235-238
Genre: Fairy Tale

Summary of Plot: A Miller tells the king that his daughter can spin straw into gold. The greedy king tells the Miller’s daughter to spin all the straw in the room into gold, or she would die. The first night the girl is helped out by a little man, for the price of her gold necklace. The king is pleased and puts the girl in a larger room of straw. The little man comes back and helps her with the payment of a gold ring. One more night and the process is repeated, but the Miller’s daughter has nothing to pay with. The little man makes her promise that he could have her first born child. The deal is made and the straw turned into gold. The King marries the Miller’s daughter, and a year later they have a child. The little man comes back to claim the child. The Miller’s daughter is given three days to guess the little man’s name, or she loses her child. She searches everywhere for unique names, but cannot guess it. The night before the third day a messenger over hears the little man say his name is Rumplestiltskin. When the Miller’s Daughter names the little man, he stumps his foot into the ground and falls through.

Reaction to this book: I remember reading this story as a kids and being confused on what the moral of the story is. I still have no idea what it could be. Are we learning from the Miller’s daughter? She lies about being able to spin gold into straw, and she is rewarded for the lie. The Little man makes a unfair deal and pays for that in the end. I think that the story is a fun one to tell, the repetition of three, and the chant of “that is not my name”, and song the little man sings revealing his name.

Recommendation: I think everyone should know the fairy tales, and everyone should read them.

Cowboy Tales

Author: John R. Erickson
Title: Cowboy Tales
Publishing information: Mavrick Books, September 1994, Ages 9-12
Number of Pages: 92

Genre: Comtemporary Realistic Fiction
Summary of Plot: This book tells stories from the point of view of a Ranch hand, Ranch hand’s wife, a bronco, the ranch dog, and cow-horse. Life on a ranch can be difficult, but through the voice of a different unique character, if can be quite interesting.
Your Reaction to the book: My Husband recommended this book. This was the book he read repeatedly as a child. I like how this told many stories with different voices for each tale. The tales also have good morals at the end.
Potential Problems: tobacco, smoking, cursing are mentioned but are only small parts of the stories. In one of the stories, the Ranch hands talk to the Devil. This could present a problem for some people.
Recommendations: Boys who love cowboys! This book tells you everything you need to know about being a cowboy, such as how to learn from your mistakes, and deal with cow, or hard situations, with a level head.

When You Reach Me

Author: Rebecca Stead
Title: When You Reach Me
Publishing information: Wendy Lamb Books, July 14 2009, Ages 9-12
Number of Pages: 208
Genre: Modern Fiction
Summary of Plot: Miranda lives in New York with her mother in the 70’s. She receives notes that she believes comes from the future, it ask her to tell a story and claims it will help save her life and her friends. The book starts by jumping around, her mother practicing for the game show, where she hides her spare key, when her best friend stops talking to her. You understand later why it feels like it is jumping around. Later you learn how it works in a chronological order. The soon story starts following a consistent time line. Her friend stops talking to her and her makes new friends with a girl and boy in her class. She gets a job during lunch with her new friends. Her favorite book is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. During a conversation with a kid on her block they discuss the possibilities on time travel.
Your Reaction to the book: There were a lot of mention of the book A Wrinkle in Time, but I don’t think that it affected my understanding of this book. I love books that hides its foreshadowing carefully, and that you have to return to the beginning of the book to catch on to the hints. The story to me was about her seeing the world from a new perspective. She learns to view people in different ways, situations from a different view point. It was a nice book with a great twist.
Potential Problems: Every book has a problem, whether it contains some mixes messages or don’t clarify a problem. I believe book can be great even if they have these flaws. At the beginning Miranda struggles with harshly judging others, but becomes a better person by the end of this book.
Recommendations: I would recommend this book to people who like A Wrinkle in Time, or to people interested in time travel. I would also recommend this book a wider variety of kids who like anything from science fiction, modern fiction, and non-fiction

Alctraz versus the Shattered Lens

Author: Brandon Sanderson
Title: Alcatraz versus the Shattered Lens
Publishing information: Scholastic Press, December 1, 2010, Ages 9-12
Number of Pages: 304
Genre: Science Fiction
Summary of Plot: This fourth book of the Alcatraz series starts with Alcatraz learning about exploding teddy bears! Why you might ask, well because the Librarians are attacking. The Free Kingdom Mokia is near defeat, and it’s up to Alcatraz Smedry to save them. Why, because he is a Smedry. Alcatraz in this book learns more about his family’s power and his own ability to break things. He ends up the leader of the falling city, with his help of his friend Bastille, a Crystalian Knight, and his Uncle Kaz, who has the ability to get lost; he tries to hold against the Librarians until more help arrives.
Your Reaction to the book: I love the smart-aleckiness, the sarcasm and the puns. You can’t go a page without laughing at something. This is the fourth book in the series, so don’t try starting with this one, start with Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians. This book is fast past and will keep anyone interested. Even though I would ladle this Science Fiction, I would not say it filled with science fiction elements
Potential Problems: This book doesn’t review from past books. It doesn’t slow down to explain things, but it will be explained along the way. The author releases this and encourages the reader to continue to read.
Recommendations: Kids who do not enjoy read, or find it boring should definitely pick up this book. If a kids does not find this book, or any other book in the series fast past enough, then they did not read it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Book Summaries

Author: Jerry Spinelli
Title: winger
Publishing information: Harper Collins Publishing, 1997, 9-12
Number of Pages: 228
Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction
Summary of Plot: In Palmer’s small town each summer there is a Pigeon shooting day. Once the kids turn ten they are able to become “wringer”. They run out into the field and wring the necks of the birds that have been shot down. On Palmer’s ninth birthday he becomes “one of the guys”, and their ambition is to become wringers and bully little kids. Palmer though does not want to hurt the pigeons. A couple months before the festivals, Palmer meets a pigeon outside his window. He takes it in a takes care of it. His friends have suspicions, and think he has betrayed them. He sets his neighbor agrees to set the pigeon free for him, but set him free where they catch the pigeons. Palmer saves his pigeon from being shot and finally stands up for the pigeon.
Your Reaction to the book: I thought the concept was ridiculous. There were a lot of plot holes. Palmer’s character was not believable. He tries to solve his problems by himself, and the other characters have too much freedom for their age group. It is definitely geared towards a younger group.
Potential Problems: Bullying is very propionate in this book, but it is never addressed or resolved. Spinelli leaves his book hanging at the end, and Palmer does finally stand up for himself. But we never know if this action resolves the problem he is having of being bullying by his old fiends. Palmer never goes to this parents for help, they play a very minor part in the story. When kids read book where the character is independent, and making stupid choices, what are they learning?
Recommendations: 9 – 12 year old boys.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery

Author: Graeme Base
Title: The Eleventh Hour
Publishing information: Harry N. Abrams, September 2003, Age 9-12
Number of Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book

Summary of Plot: For Horace’s eleventh birthday he invites eleven friends, makes Eleven treats and they play eleven games. At the Eleventh hour they go into dining hall to eat, but all the food is gone. So Horace makes sandwiches and they have a picnic.
But there is more to this book than that; throughout the book are clues to solve the mystery of who at the food. The pictures are filled with color and details.
Your Reaction to the book: I loved each picture, each page because they were filled with so much detail. I liked that each animal is dressed up and the costumes were well crafted to the character.
Potential Problems: there are a lot of words in this book for it being a picture book, and it takes a while to get into the story because you have to get through all of it before you understand why the author used some words or pictures as he did.
Recommendations: for all ages, I think anyone could enjoy this book. whether it was read aloud or silently.